Excerpt from “The Crane Bag: A Druid’s Guide to Ritual Tools and Practices”

Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Crane Bag: A Druid’s Guide to Ritual Tools and Practices. You can pre-order it now from Amazon, and it will out in a few months. May we be the awen!

Journeying

Journeying is another form of meditation often used in Druidry, where the meditator goes on an inner journey. We might be seeking a deeper connection to our ancestors, or to the spirits of place, the gods, the sidhe and other denizens of this world and the Otherworld. There are many tales in Celtic mythology of a hero journeying, usually over water, to gain wisdom and insight into their lives (in Celtic Irish myth known as immrama). Today, we might be seeking allies from this world and the Otherworld to work with in the future. In the following journeying meditation, we will go to find a spirit ally, perhaps an ancestor of tradition, who may be able to guide us in our future work.

Sit in your meditative posture, and take three long, deep breaths to cleanse your mind and body. Allow your thoughts to quieten, and once you are ready begin the following visualisation.

You stand at the edge of a lake, the still water reflecting the sky above. Hanging on a small tree next to you, you see a silver branch, much like the one you own. You reach out and take the branch in your hands, shaking it three times. You then return the branch, and it slowly fades from view. Turning your gaze to the lake, you see a mist begin to form. The mist comes closer to where you are standing on the shoreline. Out of the mist, a small, flat-bottomed boat appears, paddled by two cloaked and hooded figures. Silently the boat approaches the shore, and stops with a soft bump upon the edge of the lake.

One of the figures turns and stands up, reaching out a hand to help you into the boat. You take the hand and step into the vessel, moving to the front where a small bench awaits you. The figures behind you silently push off from shore and paddle the boat into the awaiting mist.

You feel the mist all around you and its cool, soft, damp touch upon your skin. It surrounds you, and you are adrift in this strange sea, where the light has no source, the directions have no meaning. All you can feel is the boat steadily moving forward, through the mist.

Slowly, the mist begins to recede in front of you. The light changes, and you can see a form looming ahead. As the mists fully part, you see before you a beautiful island. Green hillsides dotted with sheep and cattle roam up the banks of a tall tor, a hill that rises out of the landscape. Around the base of the tor you see trees, marching down to the water’s edge. A little ways off to the right you see a small clearing, where a tiny village has been settled in the arms of the forest, the tor standing guard. The boat begins to move towards the village, and soon you see a small landing dock jutting out into the lake. As you approach the dock, a figure moves from the shoreline and onto the platform. Cloaked and hooded like those guiding your boat, the form moves to the end of the wooden dock and awaits you.

Your boat pulls up, and is neatly tied to the dock by your navigators. The figure on the dock extends a hand to you, and you are pulled up onto the platform above the water. You look into the figure’s face, and slowly the figure lifts its hands to the cowl of the robe and pulls down the hood. The figure smiles, a face that is neither old nor young, with eyes full of the ages of wisdom. “Welcome,” she/he says.

From there, you can make many journeys back to that land, to learn from this person. You can visit the village, climb the tor, wander the forests and dive into the lake. With this person as your guide, you can learn the wisdom that they have to offer. When you feel it is time to return back to your body and your time, simply thank your guide, place an offering perhaps at a sacred shrine or in a place of beauty and take the boat back to the shore from where you began the journey. As you step out of the boat, you see the silver branch again in the boughs, and you shake it three times to signal the end of your journey. Then slowly begin to focus once again on breathing in and out through your lungs, returning your mind to the here and now. Listen to the sounds around you, the smells. Wiggle your fingers and your toes, rolls your shoulders and when ready, slowly open your eyes, returning to the present moment.

Sign up to my new monthly E-Newsletter!

Every month I will be emailing author updates, special offers, downloads, performances, appearance dates, musings and more to all those who signed up to my new e-newsletter. To subscribe, please go to my About page here on this blog, or visit my website at www.joannavanderhoeven.com.

See you there!

Re-publishing fantasy fiction

It’s been 10 years since I released the very first book that I ever wrote, a medieval fantasy entitled Falconwing.  I am now re-releasing this novel, under the new title Honour-bound, and it should be available soon!

I began writing this book when I was a teenager. It’s gone through many, many incarnations over the years. It was finally published during my third year of university, and after it had gone out of print a few years ago, I decided that it was time to bring it out again, and possibly write the sequel. I very much enjoy writing fantasy fiction, and have several ideas toying about in my mind: the sequel to Honour-bound, another piece based on the Iron Kingdoms LRP game that friends and I have been playing for a few months now, and more. I’ve pulled out some of my old writings, and it has kindled a spark of awen that will hopefully be fanned into a full fire in the head!

Book details Project Summary

Non US Self-Publishing and Tax

Here is some tax information that I discovered when enquiring about printing a book through Amazon’s Create Space platform. As a US company, non-US authors will have to get around the 30% withholding tax issue. It can be tricky, if you don’t know quite where to go and how to do it. So, here’s the best way that I found, which takes around 15 – 20 minutes.

  1. Don’t bother with an ITIN (International Tax Identification Number). Go for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) instead.
  2. To get your EIN, call the IRS at +1 267 941 1099. Do not call the international number on the IRS website – this number is always engaged, and will just hang up on you. The number above is a direct line to the dedicated unit in Philadelphia that deals with foreign entities (that’s you) who need an EIN.
  3. Tell them you need an EIN, as you are an author who wants to publish on the American Amazon’s Create Space platform. Then, give them all your details, and they will then give you your EIN number. Keep this number safe!
  4. When you’ve gotten as far as you can on the Create Space site in uploading the files of your work, etc., you will need to fill in tax information through Create Space before you can continue any further. Go to that page, and tick the “I have a Foreign/Non US tax number” (currently the third option on the list).
  5. Continue with the forms, and you will get to an online version of the W8BEN. Fill in your details, and in the box marked “Foreign tax identifying number enter your own EIN like so:  EIN-12-3456789
  6. You will be asked to review all your details, and then submit the forms. Do so, and voila, hey presto, you’ve done it! You can now carry on with uploading files and creating that brilliant piece of work.

Note: Some countries have different tax treaties with the US, so for example the UK has 0% tax payable. Other countries may differ. The online form through Create Space (W-8BEN) will automatically go to the right country code on the form and show the appropriate percentage of tax for you.

The information in this blog post is correct as of the date published – it may change in the future.